If you’ve looked at this website with any regularity these past few weeks, you’ve likely stumbled upon articles pertaining to the unexpected reemergence of Piles, an exceptional Milwaukee post-punk project we mistakenly thought had ended years ago. Thankfully, the band isn’t just still alive…it’s thriving. Following an extended period of relative inactivity, Piles has marked its return by releasing a couple singles with accompanying music videos for 5:53, an album that’s more than six years in the making.

The comeback album—which will be released digitally on the band’s Burgle Records on Friday, May 12—finds Piles building on the distinct sound of predecessors Planet Skin (2015) and Expeller (2017). While 5:53 technically has seven tracks, we’re told by bassist Nolan Truttschel the opening number—which offers more than seven minutes worth of driving percussion, muddy and meandering bass lines, and blistering guitar work—is actually “two songs smushed together.” Without spoiling anything, there’s also a reason the hazy, semi-psychedelic closing track stretches close to 10 minutes, but it’s a secret…song.

Between those two ambitious, double-stuffed songs and the five other offerings, 5:53 showcases Piles’ musical growth, its artistic evolution, and an interesting perspective shift. “Ice Age” and “Be The Way” manage to exude warmth and optimism through catchy melodies and upbeat lyrics that soar above driving and raw instrumentation. “Paris” and “In The Morning” are straightforward material that’s among the most relaxed songs in the band’s catalog to this point. “Soltero” breaks the mid-album trance with jagged guitars, shouted lyrics, and a hastened tempo that nods confidently to Piles of yore.

We’re embarrassed that we, not unlike many in the realm of Milwaukee music, assumed Piles was done. However, we’re extremely glad we were wrong because the band is back and better than ever with 5:53. You can listen to the album in its entirety here before tomorrow’s release, and you can see Piles perform the album live during its record release show at Cactus Club on Sunday, June 11.

About The Author

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Co-Founder and Editor

Before co-founding Milwaukee Record, Tyler Maas wrote for virtually every Milwaukee publication (except Wassup! Magazine). He lives in Bay View and enjoys both stuff and things.